The who’s who in the booming Florida apparel and textile industry came out in full force last month to record crowds at the Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami (ATSM) show, which wrapped up its second year on May 30. The three-day event hosted domestic and international textile mills and apparel factory exhibitors from 15 countries with an unprecedented 3,000 attendees, all giving a boost to the Florida apparel and textile industry. The show also had record attendance with SME brands and boutiques, and VIP buyers including the Hard Rock, Disney, Viacom, Nordica, Perry Ellis, Tractor Supply, Becker Glove, Venus Swimwear, and hundreds more.
“ATSM 2019 demonstrated the importance of global trade to the Florida market and cemented itself as the leading Southern US platform for the world’s apparel and textile sourcing leadership – from international trade offices and governments, to private sector and association leaders,” said Jason Prescott, show producer and CEO of B2B global trade platforms TopTenWholesale.com and Manufacturer.com.
The show opened on May 28 to a leading roster of business and industry heavy hitters, who shared their insight on the local market and unveiled international trade opportunities for Florida businesses, retailers, brands and designers, including: Florida Chamber of Commerce President Alice Ancona, Enterprise Florida VP Trade and Development Z. Joe Kulenovic, Miami-Dade Beacon Council President Michael Finney, South Florida Manufacturers Association President Matthew Rocco, Broward County Economic Development International Trade Specialist, PortMiami Global Trade & Business Development Director Eric Olafson, United States Fashion Industry Association President Julia Hughes, and high level dignitaries and trade representatives from the 15 countries, such as Ghana Ambassador to the US Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Bangladesh Ministry of Commerce Export Promotion Bureau Additional Secretary SM Rejuan Hossain, Center for Investment Facilitation (CFI) Haiti Director General Tessa Jacques.
International Trade Updates
In spite of US-China trade tensions intensifying, propelled by the latest 25 per cent tariff pending on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, the message to show attendees was clear: Trade with China is still thriving and key for the health and growth of American businesses. At the same time, the show unveiled myriad opportunities for alternative sources of supply for local businesses, brands, retailers and designers scrambling to navigate the unfolding economic reality.
Gu Xinxin, Director of the China-based Changshu Garments Town – a key textile and garment city which brought a delegation of manufacturers to the event – addressed the crowd, reporting there are nearly 10,000 textile and garment producers behind his city’s annual exports of 2.6 bn “Changshu has ports, warehouses and a comprehensive professional service system that includes a complete foreign trade platform, inspection, shipping, logistics, and other enhanced professional services,” Xinxin said. “The garment and clothing accessories industry of East China and the whole national industry use Changshu as the central facilitator to domestic and foreign markets.”
Hot industry topics, fashion show
Closer to home, show attendees learned about nearshoring opportunities and trade incentives from such countries as Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, and Peru. Other popular topics included supply change transformation, responsible sourcing, sustainable apparel and textile solutions, breakthrough manufacturing technologies – from lean manufacturing to robotics – and trending colors for the coming seasons by Pantone Color Institute.
The Fashion Lab conference series – introduced to the show for the first time – drew large crowds of small businesses and up-and-coming designers looking to build their brands. Industry experts and top fashion influencers offered advice on topics such as digital shopping channels, emerging technologies that change the way consumers interact with brands, e-commerce, experiential retail, changing consumer attitudes regarding environmental consciousness and corporate responsibility, the critical role of social media in the world of fashion, and how to create a Made in the USA fashion line.
A show-stopping “Best of Miami” fashion runway on day two showcased the latest creations by some of the Magic City’s most renowned talent, including Renee Ruiz, Julian Chang, Luis Aponte, Viviana Gabeiras, Lucky in Love, Peace, Love, World, Bianca Coletti, Cubavera Mayda Cisneros and Maria D’Ocon. Making a debut on the runway were also innovative designs by some of Miami’s top rising young fashion stars, as well as leading international designers such as top Chinese fashion brands RAP, Wilen and Tiny Cuttle.